For this assignment, I have been asked to create an A3 poster for the London Festival of Architecture 2017. The finished poster must include the words ‘London Festival of Architecture’, the date of the festival (1st – 3oth June 2017) and the LFA logo. The target audience for the poster is people studying and working within architecture, engineering and spatial design so I decided to use a lot of architectural and structural imagery in the poster to appeal to that.
Historical Printing Techniques:
Chinese woodblock is the earliest known form of printing, using blocks of wood that are carved and then applied with ink before having paper pressed onto the print surface. The first known media printed with this technique is the Diamond Sutra (circa 868ad) which is a Chinese adaptation of a Buddhist text.
This is a relatively cheap form of printing as it doesn’t require many specialist materials and can be printed in either oil or water based inks.
However, the quality of the finished print is usually lower than that of most other printing methods and it can be difficult to carve the design in the first place; also the mediums that it can be printed onto are also somewhat limited as they have to be flat.
Movable Type Printing
Movable Type printing, also a Chinese invention, originally used baked clay stamps arranged on a wood (or metal) sheet to form a printing plate. Wooden (and later metal) stamps were also used as they were more durable than the fragile porcelain.
This was a better form of printing for text documents than woodblock printing, as it allowed modification and the re-use of the stamps to create other documents.
However, when printing drawings and artwork, it would still be easier to use woodblock printing as they cannot be made up of interchangeable stamps.
Stone Lithography, invented by Aloys Senefelder, was created as a cheap way to print out colour prints. Working on the principle that water and oil don’t mix, it used a limestone slab that was painted with a greasy hydrophobic layer in the areas to be coloured. Then, the stone slab is wetted and oil based ink layered on the top. The oil based ink will only stick to the areas that were painted with the hydrophobic grease.
Compared to Woodblock and Movable type, this form of printing produces a much better final image, along with it being more consistent each time.
However, the materials and equipment are more expensive and harder to come by than other types of printing.
Modernist and Contemporary
An example of a traditionally printed modernist poster is ‘Normandie’ by Adolphe Moron Cassandre – a commission for a new liner.
The over-exaggerated ship in the centre, coupled with the minuscule flock of birds on the left, shows the immense scale of the newly built ship – which was one of the largest for its time.
Lithographic printing onto paper was used to create bold yet simplistic imagery similar to many other art-deco style posters. Stark contrast between the left and right sides of the bow has been used to draw the eye toward the text at the bottom of the poster.
Interestingly, the rule of thirds was not used in this poster as the ship is central. However; this helps to emphasise the dramatic shapes of the poster.
The use of black in the poster gives the connotation of sophistication and glamour – creating the impression that the ship is for the upper class and the wealthy elite.
Unlike modernist posters which are usually made using physical mediums (such as lithography), Contemporary posters are usually designed digitally on a computer using software such as the Adobe Suite and are mostly printed using digital inkjet printers or offset lithographic printing.
An example of a contemporary poster is the new Star Wars – Rogue One poster. The colours in the poster are mainly tones of blues and reds which creates a feel of serenity and hope. This is juxtaposed by the red of the title which creates a feeling of courage and defiance.
The poster uses the ‘Golden Triangle’ rule to split the poster up into three separate parts. This helps to draw the eye to the title of the poster.
Resources and References Used:
History of printing and Printing Techniques: